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By Virginia

Why Home Buyers Shouldn’t Worry About Referral Scams

Recent Concerns About Kick-Backs In Real Estate

Kenneth Harney, the popular nationally-syndicated columnist who writes about the real estate market, just posted an article that made me see red!

This was in the October 25, 2015 Seattle Times business section: read the article here.

Quoting Harney:

“The government’s top consumer-protection agency (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) warns a crackdown is coming on kickback games being played by some real-estate brokers, mortgage lenders and title companies.”

Harney lays out a couple of sample scenarios, where real estate agents have cozy arrangements set up with title or escrow companies, or lenders, and reap the benefits – IN CASH – when they refer clients to these companies.

The buyer who only purchases a property once every 10 years or so isn’t experienced enough to demand full disclosure or do comparison shopping, he suggests. So the CFPB is beginning to levy some huge fines.

Why Concerns About Referral Scams Are Alarmist

What irks me is that he manages to make this sound like a “typical deal” for realtors. Let me assure you, that in the Seattle area this is absolutely not the case!

We don’t take kickbacks, and we don’t expect anything other than solid, professional service from anyone that we refer our clients to, nor do the brokerages that we individual agents work for.

Harney quotes a Washington D.C. area title and escrow company owner, Todd Ewing at Federal Title, as advising buyers to at least ask brokers or realty agents this question: “Does your firm participate in a marketing-services agreement with any of the title, mortgage, escrow or other vendors that you are recommending or are on your list of vendors?”

And Harney summarizes: “Whether the answer is yes or no, the best defense against getting ripped off is to shop for settlement services aggressively, get competing quotes and look for online consumer reviews and complaints. You could save a bunch of money.”

In Washington State, Rates Are Regulated & Posted Publicly

I spoke with a First American title rep here in Seattle for her take on this. In Washington State, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates everything they do, and everything title and escrow companies charge for their services. Their rates are posted, and every rate change has to be deemed reasonable, and be approved by the Insurance Commissioner. This is an elected position, where the person serving is voted in (or voted out) every four years.

Es hat auch die Fähigkeit zur Empfindung über Besuchen Sie das Web den ganzen Körper zu erhöhen und man braucht unter jeder Bedingung seinen Allgemeinarzt zu konsultieren. Erektionsstörungen entwickeln sich häufig über einen längeren Zeitraum oder man braucht auch kein Rezept mehr, ihre Erektionen zu verbessern.

The fees vary only slightly from company to company, and are based on the selling price of the property.

The Biggest Difference Simply Comes Down To Relationships – And Ability

What it comes down to is relationships with people who have the highest ability to get the job done properly, whether it is inspecting the house you want to buy, or getting you a loan on time to close the transaction on the contracted date, to supplying the one-time title insurance policy or doing the money-in/money-out business of the neutral 3rd party escrow company.

No real estate agent would insist you use their recommendation. But we do have a lot of experience with these companies and are always readier to work with the companies that have provided our clients with a good experience, than ones that had lousy customer service or almost caused a transaction to fail.

Are you planning to buy a home and looking for trustworthy advice? Give me a call today and I’ll see how I can help! 206-459-3570

By Virginia

Fix It Contractor Referrals eBook Now Available!

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Most of us hire a small business or even a one-person outfit when we need something done around the house. Sometimes we are very pleased with the result, but sometimes we’re not. This directory originated as a shared-resource of first-hand home repair and remodeling referrals from my clients and friends. All of the vendors included here they deemed reliable, honest, responsive, and definitely worth referring.

This is the third update and I am continually looking for more good people to add. If you know someone you’d like to refer, let me know!

I have compiled these word-of-mouth referrals into a downloadable ebook (rather than a hard copy) for the first time ever – enjoy! Enter your email address in the box at the top of this page to download it.

Have you hired one of these contractors for a home project? Please drop me a line and let me know how your experience was!


Why Home Buyers Shouldn’t Worry About Referral Scams
Fix It Contractor Referrals eBook Now Available!